Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bare and Cowboy Jack Clement have been selected for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The announcement was made Wednesday morning (April 10) during a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville.
All three will be officially inducted later this year during a special ceremony in Nashville.
Rogers was elected in the modern era category for artists who become eligible for induction 20 years after they receive national prominence. Bare will be inducted in the veterans era category for artists eligible for inclusion 45 years after achieving national prominence. Clement, a legendary producer and songwriter, was elected in the non-performer category for those active prior to 1980.
Rogers was born Aug. 21, 1938, in Houston. He performed in local jazz groups and the New Christy Minstrels before achieving national attention in the First Edition with the 1968 single “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” He enjoyed his first success on the country chart in 1969 with the band’s recordings of “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” and “Reuben James.” By 1975, Rogers launched his career as a solo country artist with “Love Lifted Me.” In 1977, he reached No. 1 on Billboard’s country songs chart with “Lucille.” He continued his string of No. 1 hits in the ’70s with “Love or Something Like It,” “The Gambler,” “She Believes in Me,” “You Decorated My Life” and “Coward of the County,” among many others.
In addition to his solo hits, Rogers also achieved additional acclaim and chart success with a series of duets with Dottie West (“Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “All I Ever Need Is You,” “What Are We Doin’ in Love”), Dolly Parton (“Islands in the Stream”), Kim Carnes (“Don’t Fall in Love With a Dreamer”) and Sheena Easton (“We’ve Got Tonight”). His crossover appeal was underscored with his 1980 cover of Lionel Richie’s “Lady,” which topped the country chart and spent six weeks atop the pop chart. He scored another No. 1 country single in 1999 with “Buy Me a Rose.”
Rogers’ status as a national celebrity flourished with TV specials and movies, guest appearances on national TV talk shows and concert tours.
Born April 7, 1935, near Ironton, Ohio, Bare recorded his first single “All-American Boy” in 1958. However, the talking blues song was credited to Bill Parsons, and by the time it became a hit, Bare was serving in the military. He signed to RCA Records in 1962 and a year later released his signature song, “Detroit City,” which won a Grammy for best country record. Bare continued with additional Top 10 hits, including “500 Miles Away From Home,” “Miller’s Cave,” “Four Strong Winds,” “The Streets of Baltimore” and “(Margie’s at) The Lincoln Park Inn.” With a strong folk influence in his music, he often demonstrated an experimental streak, including his work with songwriter Shel Silverstein on the 1973 concept album Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies. The project included “Marie Laveau,” a No. 1 country hit.
Continuing to record, he released The Moon Was Blue in 2005 and Darker Than Light, a collection of folk songs in 2012.
Clement was born April 5, 1931, in the Whitehaven suburb of Memphis. He began playing guitar and Dobro when he was still a teenager. After serving in the Marines, he returned to Memphis in 1954 and was hired by Sam Phillips as a producer for Sun Records, where he worked with such young upstarts as Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Charlie Rich. In 1961, Clement moved to Beaumont, Texas, at the urging of producer and publisher Bill Hall. The two opened Gulf Coast Recording Studio and the Hall-Clement publishing company. While in Beaumont, Clement also worked with Memphis pals Dickey Lee and Allen Reynolds and the burgeoning Texas songwriter Bob McDill. During this period, Clement persuaded George Jones to record Lee’s “She Thinks I Still Care,” as well as one of Clement’s own compositions, “Just Someone I Used to Know.”
After producing Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” in Nashville in 1963, he became a permanent Nashville resident two years later. After recording a demo session on Charley Pride, he convinced Chet Atkins to sign the young African-American singer just as America was in the thick of the Civil Rights struggle. Pride’s first two charted singles, “Just Between You and Me” and “I Know One,” were both penned by Clement, who would go on to produce Pride’s first 13 albums for RCA.
Over his long career, he produced records for an astounding array of artists, including Bare, Waylon Jennings, Eddy Arnold, Louis Armstrong, U2, Tompall & the Glaser Brothers, the Stonemans, John Hartford, Mac Wiseman, Doc Watson, Frank Yankovic, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt and Dickey Lee.
A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall Fame, his songwriting credits include “Guess Things Happen That Way,” “Miller’s Cave,” “Let’s All Help the Cowboy (Sing the Blues)” and “California Girl (And the Tennessee Square).” Cash recorded many of his songs, notably “Ballad of a Teenage Queen,” “The One on the Right Is on the Left,” “Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog” and “Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart.”